Crytek invents a revolutionary masterpiece in ‘Crysis 2′

(Photo courtesy of Crytek Press Relations)

“Crysis 2″
5/5 Pitchforks
Released on March 22
PC, PS3, Xbox 360

It’s 2023 and New York City is in shambles. The Statue of Liberty’s dismembered arm lies crumbling in a crater, for not even its torch can pierce through the darkness brought on by devastatingly powerful aliens who swarm throughout this capitalist hallmark with a sole objective of annihilating mankind.

This is the cataclysmic setting in which players find themselves throughout the phenomenal experience that is “Crysis 2.”

Teetering on the edge of photorealism, the graphically surreal sequel follows the escapade of Alcatraz, a force-recon marine who is synergized with a cybernetic combat armor known as the Nanosuit 2, and his death-defying task of saving New York City from the terrifying grasp of an alien invasion and a lethal plague epidemic.

Within the first 10 minutes any hopes of a continuing storyline utilizing “Crysis’s” main character, Prophet, are dispatched by having the original cybernetic soldier adorn Alcatraz with the Nanosuit 2 and then promptly commit suicide.

Nevertheless, author Richard Morgan delivers a stellar, but slightly confusing, plot within “Crysis 2” that mainly focuses on the importance and power of the Nanosuit 2.

While the storyline is above average for a 13-hour-long first-person-shooter game, its immersion could have been vastly improved with more development of the Ceph invasion and Crynet organization.

For the first couple hours of story development, Alcatraz is tossed into the pit of a flaming New York City as he eludes the Crynet agency by skillfully slaughtering hordes of C.E.L.L. soldiers in order to rendezvous with conspiracy-loving computer geek Nathan Gould.

During these two hours campaign developer Crytek GmbH’s allure of creative violence is clearly signified with “Crysis 2’s” unique combat featuring the Nanosuit 2 and staggeringly brilliant artificial intelligence.

Unlike the typical first-person-shooter, Alcatraz isn’t able to pull a “Rambo” and attack his enemies head-on, expecting to survive unscathed. Attempting an action movie firefight results in an incredibly swift demise because every enemy works together better than the most polished military unit by quickly seeking cover, aggressively flanking Alcatraz and silently slipping behind him for disastrous coordinated assaults.

The only hope of survival is properly employing the powerful Nanosuit 2’s modules that bestow inhuman strength and speed, invisibility, and increased armor; however, regardless of what Nanosuit 2 ability is used, expect an enemy team to remain one step ahead of Alcatraz.

Luckily, New York City is an urban jungle made for the cybernetic war suit and provides a variety of explosive toys and destructible cover necessary to turn the tide against perhaps the most impressive artificial intelligence in video game history.

However, even though the enemies are incredibly intelligent, once dead they still on occasion partially glitch into walls or hover in mid-air.

Despite the AI’s frustratingly impressive fighting abilities and occasional bug, several exploitable weaknesses appear by thinking outside of the box.

A personal favorite is turning invisible and throwing three gasoline-filled barrels into a crowed roadblock of seven C.E.L.L. infantry. Once the enemy unit deployed small squads to search for who threw the barrels, I attach C-4 to a taxi cab and then kick it from the top of a parking garage directly in front of the opposing forces, shoot the car’s fuel tank, and watch the glorious explosion of elimination.

Best of all, this action is doable in the multi-player as well.

Multi-player developer Crytek UK, the team formerly known as Free Radical who is recognized for the “TimeSplitters” series, created the best combative first-person-shooter multi-player available by incorporating the best aspects of the “Battlefield,” “Call of Duty,” and “Halo” franchises.

Every player is adorned with a Nanosuit 2 with most of the abilities found within the campaign, which allows everyone to have a unique combat style and revolutionizes the combative first-person-shooter environment.

A player who prefers assimilating with New York’s towering scenery as a sniper may choose to cloak, sprint and then climb to higher ground for the best possible vantage point, making Swiss cheese out of adversaries along the way. While perhaps someone prefers the personal connection of close-quarters combat will activate the sprint function, grappling rails and performing incredibly epic parkour feats until he or she is close enough to fire a well-placed slug into the target’s head.

Nearly every problem found within the previously released multi-player demonstrations has been fixed. The final product does, however, leave the maximum armor function feeling a bit underwhelming, leaving players to rely more upon stealth before engaging in combat.

The game features 12 very well made multiplayer maps, five unlockable preset and custom load outs, six different game modes, 20 Nanosuit modules, 50 ranks and 200 dog tags.

Even though “Crysis” still feels more at home on a PC, by pushing the technical limits of the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, “Crysis 2” provides a wider audience of players with an incredibly rewarding campaign and remarkable combative multi-player that will awe players as a revolutionary adventure. Splicing “Crysis 2’s” fantastic gameplay with its surreally beautiful graphics sets this title up to be 2011’s game of the year.

Reach the reporter at tdmcknig@asu.edu